‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 6’ Episode 11 recap: Monologue the house down boots

A storytelling challenge sees an underdog score a major win, while a former frontrunner falls

The game-within-a-game has come and gone, and it’s time to unveil the winner of the whole kit and kaboodle. While Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s herstoric six-lip-sync run can never and will never be forgotten, her reveal mistake during the “Since U Been Gone” lip sync proves fatal to her chances of returning. Eureka!, after an emotional rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s biggest bop, will return to the competition. And honestly, even though it seemed like an inevitable result, it still stings when Ru announces it.

There’s no question in my mind that Eureka! won their one and only lip sync. But still, even knowing how many episodes we have left in the season, there was part of me that hoped there might be a double shantay. The show even seems to allude to it, adding an extra musical beat and a look at Silky from Ru after he’s already said Eureka!’s name. But alas, this is the end of Silky’s improbable run, one that she notes she thought ended six episodes ago. She gets in a last bit of hamming it up, yelling, “You sure?” at Ru before sashaying away. All I’ll say is: Silky for a future All Stars return. She more than deserves it.

But Eureka! is officially back, and while the other queens—especially Trinity K. Bonet—may not be thrilled by the return twist, as Ginger Minj notes, it’s happening whether or not they’re okay with it. They do a nice job of welcoming Eureka! back into the fold, a fact surely made easier because they were just eliminated. And they get a nice moment with Trinity in which the Season 6 queen makes clear they have absolutely no problem with Eureka!; she just fears this spells her doom.

Largely because of her own doomcasting, Trinity effectively makes this episode all about her inevitable elimination. Long before the queens even get into their challenge, she makes the case for why she should be the one to go home—in front of the other queens! And then, when she does not win the challenge, she shuts down deliberations and accepts what she sees as an inevitable fate. It’s a shame. There’s a world in which Trinity doesn’t give up and puts up one hell of a fight to stay. But it was pretty clear even in the last episode that Trinity wasn’t going to fight. Once she saw the game-within-a-game, she decided her fate was sealed.

Kylie Sonique Love revels in her own Pride for the Levi’s-sponsored mini-challenge.

Credit: Courtesy of Paramount+


The challenge this week is the “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Monologues,” a storytelling challenge clearly modelled after The Vagina Monologues. (After saying the full name, Ginger puts a fine point on it in a confessional: it “just means cunt.”) Each queen must write a monologue about an experience in their life, then perform it for the judges: Ru, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and guest judge Justin Simien (the creator of Dear White People). Before they do, though, they get the chance to work with two mentors, comedians Alec Mapa and Jermaine Fowler.

Alec and Jermaine are both part of the Drag Race family, with Alec serving as one of the contestants on the first-ever Snatch Game, and Jermaine competing as Miss Mimi Teapot on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race. They make for great mentors—especially Alec, who gives Ginger a very good note about her monologue sounding too much like writing. Kylie Sonique Love gets a lovely moment with Alec, who remembers her from failing Snatch Game 11 years ago. She wants to prove to him how far she’s come, in an echo of her storyline all season long.

The results are pretty great across the board. We’ve said it plenty this season, but this crop of queens is remarkably evenly matched. Ra’Jah O’Hara is probably the worst, but that’s only because of an exaggerated pause in which she forgets her next line. She’s otherwise great at telling a story called “Bunny Tail,” about her tuck coming undone. (Each story gets a clever name, which I love.) 

“While Drag Race may be more commercial and mainstream than it was in its early years, it still represents one of the broadest coalitions of LGBTQ2S+ people you can find on TV.”

Trinity, despite being down on herself, comes through with a touching, funny tale called “Bamboozled” about being catfished. This one is the most emotional: the catfish admitted he lured her with his roommate’s pictures, but only so he could tell her about nearly taking his own life when he found out he was HIV-positive. Seeing Trinity on Drag Race be open about her own status gave him a new lease on life, and he called her his guardian angel.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking about the competition, but Trinity’s story is a good reminder that this show is so much more than just a battle for the grand prize. It’s genuinely revolutionary entertainment, and while it may be more commercial and mainstream than it was in its early years, it still represents one of the broadest coalitions of LGBTQ2S+ people you can find on TV. And there are signs that the show is only getting better at meeting the moment.

Alec Mapa and Jermaine Fowler work with Kylie Sonique Love on her monologue.

Credit: Courtesy of Paramount+

Ginger’s monologue, “My Ruby Slippers,” is a sweet one about her mom supporting her, gifting her with her own Wizard of Oz-esque pair of red shoes. It’s so polished and professional that she could take it right on tour—but that professionalism actually comes under scrutiny. In an unfortunately timed bit of criticism for Ginger, Carson Kressley knocks her for being a bit too polished, in a critique that has echoes of what Rosé got in Season 13. It’s kind of jarring to hear this pulled out against Ginger at such a late juncture, and gives me pause about Ginger’s chances of winning heading into the finale. Will that “polished” critique prove insurmountable?

Coming in what seems like second this week is Kylie, who pushes past fears of public speaking to absolutely slay as a storyteller. Her voice and demeanor are a perfect fit for this format; she’s so warm and inviting as she speaks. “First Time,” her story about her debut in drag, is a beautiful tale of self-discovery. Right off the bus from military school—an attempt by her parents to “butch” her up—she gets taken by the gayest guy in town to a gay bar. There, she performs in drag for the first time, and ends by saying she’s done it every weekend since. It’s a story with a great mix of emotional moments and laughs (“Donald was the gayest guy in town. He was gayer than two guys blowing five guys”), and I’d personally have given her the win.

But Eureka!, having returned and now defending their spot in the final five, knows they have to win this to stay in the game. The likelihood that the other queens will not immediately eliminate them again is low. My guess is the show is keenly aware of this as well, and thus is prepared to give Eureka! the win as long as they don’t fall short. 

To Eureka!’s credit, they live up to expectations with a very funny story about shitting themselves in drag, called, “A Benefit for Boom Boom.” In truth, I think the story could have gone deeper, and it leans on the comedic side of things a little too hard. (The challenge is pretty distinctly explained as not being a comedy challenge.) But to see Eureka! just revolving-door back out of the competition would have been frustrating from a narrative perspective. So I appreciate their win, even if it’s not how I would have judged the challenge.

Trinity K. Bonet performs “Bamboozled” in the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Monologues.

Credit: Courtesy of Paramount+

Everyone else is back in the bottom, but you couldn’t tell it from deliberations. Though Eureka! seems keen to keep Trinity, their bae is too defeated to make a case for herself. And because Trinity is all but signing her own elimination papers, the other queens all unanimously throw her out as the obvious target to go. Unlike previous foregone conclusion eliminations (like A’keria C. Davenport’s and Pandora Boxx’s), there’s no real attempt to add suspense here. Trinity is clearly the group’s choice.

Eureka!, dressed in a clown costume, gets to lip sync for their legacy for the first time this season. Their opponent is a tough one: Season 12 champion Jaida Essence Hall, at this point pretty fresh off of winning her crown. With a 3-0 lip sync record, Jaida has a pristine lip sync trajectory to protect, while there’s $20,000 on the line for Eureka! to win. The two square off to Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly,” and while they both give it their all, the editing is a little frantic. It’s hard to tell who’s doing the best.

Despite—or perhaps because?—of this, Ru calls it a tie, with Eureka! taking home the cash tip. In theory, this could allow for a double elimination, and thus reduce the group to a top three instead of a top four. But that would require literally any other queen to have been a seemingly viable elimination option, and that is not the case. Both Eureka! and the group choose Trinity, and she is sent home just short of the top four.

Though the challenge is great, and the “Oops!” mistake runway is a lot of fun, this episode nonetheless can’t help but feel a bit deflating after Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s House of Fun last week. Eureka!’s return felt inevitable, as does them securing a spot in the top four. Trinity may have been doomcasting, and you can debate how much she fulfills her own prophecy, but nonetheless things go down exactly as she predicts. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer the top four configuration with Trinity there over Eureka!, even though Eureka! absolutely earns her spot back in the competition.

Regardless of a disappointing final note, this season on the whole has been so strong. And while I definitely have my preference for a winner (I’ve been Team Kylie since Day 1, I’m staying that way), I’d be happy to see anybody take home the crown. Hopefully next week’s finale feels like a celebration, because that’s what this triumphant season deserves.

Untucking our final thoughts

Cannot get over Kylie greeting Ru and his plant-themed suit by just whispering, “Secret Garden!”

We get a mini-challenge this week! It’s a photo shoot task with the Levi’s Pride collection, which is both pretty blatant product placement shilling and also kind of cute to watch. Kylie does the best, snatching the win and earning her… the entire Levi’s Pride collection. Congratulations, Kylie, you won’t have to buy new jeans this year!

Love that the other queens snap for each other during the challenge rather than clap. Very much a hallmark of storytelling events.

Trinity and Eureka!’s flirtation storyline comes to a close with a really honest, beautiful coda: Eureka! says that although it was mostly playful and joking, they don’t get that kind of flirting attention typically and it means a lot to them. It’s clear from her response that it means a lot to Trinity, too. It’s a very frank, generous reflection on queer affection, and it’s remarkably nuanced for this show.

RuPaul in pants on the runway! Can’t tell you the last time that happened. RuPaul has talked recently about feeling like he’s gotten a “second wind” in his career, and you can tell just based on how much more varied he’s gotten in his runway looks. The repetitive silhouettes and wigs are a thing of the past.

Eureka! correctly notes they’re the first queen to get sent home on All Stars, come back and make it to the final four. Alyssa Edwards and Latrice Royale previously got the closest, each making it to fifth after surviving another episode. (Morgan McMichaels technically also made it to fifth, but was merely chosen to return by BenDeLaCreme and was immediately eliminated again.)

Trinity’s suggestion that Ru put her in the RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! show in Las Vegas is such a smart call. She’s a born entertainer, and she would fit perfectly on a Vegas stage. Honestly, give Trinity whatever she wants: she’s more than earned it.

Though we don’t have an exact premiere date yet, we do know that RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 3 is coming in September, and we will be covering the season with recaps and rankings here on Xtra! The Drag Race train truly never stops rolling. In the meantime, we’ll see you next week for the All Stars 6 finale. May the best queen win!

The finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6 will be available for streaming on Thursday, Sept. 2, on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on Crave in Canada.

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Kevin O’Keeffe is a writer, host, instructor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles, California. His favourite pastime is watching a perfect lip sync.

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